So, eco freaks have been trying to tell everybody about the problems with plastic pollution for awhile now and before moving back to the High Desert I was admittedly a bit slow on the subject. In my city life, plastic was a way of life. Oh, sure, I’ve always been a bit thrifty and hated waste, but moving out here to the ranch, where there is no curbside recycling has taught me a few things about plastic.
It’s ugly. It lasts forever. It’s toxic. Did I mention that it’s ugly?
Let’s get real, okay? Plastic pollution is a serious problem. We’re not talking a little mess here, we’re talking mountains of waste, we’re talking more ugly than has any right to exist. And the price tag on this ugly?? The cost to our planet, our Mama Earth, is pretty steep. And we sold out cheap- a twinkie here, a bread bag there, a trip to the market.
According to various sources around the web:
- There are an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags consumed worldwide each year.
- That comes out to over one million per minute.
- Billions end up as litter each year.
- According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year and,
- According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. uses 100 billion plastic shopping bags a year.
- Hundreds of thousands of marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags that they mistake for food.
- Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade. This means when in the sun, they break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways as well as entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest the bits.
- It also means that when the bags end up in the Land Fills, buried with other garbage and hidden from the sunlight, they don’t degrade.
- According to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation, plastic bags are among the top 12 garbage items most often found in coastal cleanups.
Here in Thorne’s World we: Continue reading